auDA announces further phases of public consultation for policy reform

Posted by auDA on 26 March 2019

The Policy Review Panel (PRP) is inviting feedback from the Australian community on its final recommendations to the auDA Board.

You can access the final report and the supporting documentation here:

Recommendations to the auDA Board: Reform of Existing Policies and Implementation of Direct Registration

The Consultation Process to Date

In December 2015, the 2015 Names Policy Panel (Names Panel) presented its final report to the auDA Board. The Names Panel made seven recommendations to auDA relating to the introduction of direct registration at the second level, in addition to other potential policy reforms.

In particular the Names Panel recommended in principle that .au should be opened up to direct registrations (Recommendation 1A), and that the same policy rules which currently apply in the existing 2LDs (including,,,,,, and should also apply to direct registrations (Recommendation 1B).
The auDA Board considered the Names Panel’s report and recommendations at its February 2016 meeting and recorded that it was “receptive” to both recommendations with respect to the introduction of direct registration. The Board instructed auDA staff to conduct market research to gauge the level of demand for direct registrations, and develop a high level implementation time frame and indicative costings for consideration at the Board’s April 2016 meeting.
Following this analysis, at its 18 April 2016 meeting, the Board accepted the Names Panel’s recommendation 1A that in principle .au should be opened up to direct registrations, and noted recommendation 1B, but agreed that the policy rules for direct registrations would be determined as part of the implementation planning process.

Throughout 2016 and into 2017, auDA considered the recommendations of the Names Panel in relation to implementation of direct registration.  It also evaluated all of auDA’s published policies. Following this exercise, auDA determined that a comprehensive and holistic review of auDA’s policies was required as part of determining an appropriate implementation model for direct registration.

In October 2017, the auDA Board appointed the Policy Review Panel (PRP) to consider how direct registration could be implemented, in addition to reviewing auDA’s current published policies with a view to modernising and consolidating the policies. The Board appointed senior lawyer, John Swinson, to chair the PRP.

Over the last 17 months, the PRP has worked diligently to identify how existing policies should be reformed and the most efficient and effective model to introduce direct registration of .au at the second level.

The PRP and auDA have sought real and meaningful feedback from the Australian Internet community.  The goal of both the PRP and auDA is to ensure that the proposed implementation model and the related reform of the existing auDA policies, if approved, are fair, positively received (as far as is possible), and that the impacts are fully understood by the Australian Internet community.

The PRP has issued two discussion papers and conducted a total of five rounds of public consultation, including two rounds of focus groups, receipt of written submissions from members of the Australian Internet community, and four full-day public forums in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The PRP's Final Report and Recommendations 

The PRP presented its final report to the auDA Board on 18 March 2019, along with:

The PRP has unanimously recommended that the auDA Board approve the introduction of direct registration as soon as is practicable, and has provided the basis of a recommended implementation model.

The PRP has also made a number of complementary recommendations in relation to auDA’s existing published policies, and has recommended that the auDA Board further consider these as a package of overall policy reform and consolidation.

The PRP strongly encourages the Australian Internet community to read the PRP’s recommendations and submit their feedback.

Feedback on the PRP's final report closes on 12 April 2019.

Next steps

auDA is now in the process of considering and responding to the Panel’s recommendations. An additional auDA Board meeting has been scheduled for 15 April 2019 at which the Board will approve for consultation and feedback auDA’s formal response to the PRP’s recommendations.

It is anticipated auDA will release for consultation its:

  • recommended model for implementation of direct registration at the second level; and
  • revised and consolidated policies, taking into account the PRP’s final recommendations.

Consultation on the proposed policies and implementation model will run until COB Friday 10 May 2019.

To coincide with this phase of consultation, a nation-wide public awareness campaign will be rolled out to ensure that the Australian Internet community, including internet users, auDA’s stakeholders and industry, are informed of the proposed changes and have ample opportunity to provide feedback.

The results of this consultation will be presented to the auDA Board at its scheduled meeting on 20 May 2019. At this meeting, the Board will decide whether to adopt the proposed policies and implementation model for direct registration.

The PRP and auDA are confident that the proposed recommendations, and eventually the revised and consolidated policies, will reflect the extensive, robust and engaged public and targeted consultative process undertaken.

This process has resulted in a balanced, fair and responsive policy base which ensures the security and stability of the .au domain and confirms the importance of the .au ccTLD as part of Australia’s digital economy.

The PRP and auDA would like to acknowledge and thank all participants and respondents who have been involved in this process to date, and look forward to receiving further feedback.

John Swinson,
Chair, Policy Review Panel 

Cameron Boardman,
CEO, .au Domain Administration